History of Raffa Bowls

Throwing balls towards a target is one of the oldest games known to mankind, it goes back to as early as 5000 B.C. where the Egyptians played a form of bocce with polished rocks. The Greek followed the Egyptians around 800 B.C. together with the Romans, who introduced the Raffa Bowls game throughout the Roman Empire for enjoyment.

By time, this game has become one of Europe’s most popular pastimes, such that at one point in history several governments began to regulate its usage. The popularity of the game reached such a high popularity in Italy that on 11th December 1576, anyone who was caught playing bocce was publically condemned.

As the years passed by, this game evolved into distinct versions such that in France this sport became known as boules while the Italians call it bocce or boccia. In England, this sport progressed into another form, better known as lawn bowls. The games bocce, lawn bowling, and a to lesser extent boules begun to flourish in North America during the twentieth century thanks to the European immigrants. To this day, one finds a number of variations of this game, the most popular being: Raffa, Volo, Pétanque, and Lawn bowls.

Despite Raffa’s popularity, this sport was excluded from the first Olympic Games held in Athens, in April 1896, which led to the formation of leagues throughout Europe. France was first to organise the league followed by Italy. The first organized Italian League was formed on15th November 1947, in the town of Rivoli (Torino). Since 1947, the Bocce World Championships has been held every year with France and Italy as the most prominent competitors.